Ford Joins the Plug in Hybrid Race

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The plug-in hybrid race is closely paced by General Motors and Toyota with the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius. With the plug-in Ford Escape hybrid, Ford Motors has joined the fuel efficient and reduced emission drive. The plug-in Escape hybrid is now ready to dominate the roads of California for testing. Last December 4, Ford delivered 20 research Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) to Southern California Edison to begin drive tests. The turnover of the PHEVs is part of Ford's partnership with the testing facility.

Ford's research plug-in Escape hybrid will use lithium-ion batteries capable of storing maximum amount of Voltage to get 120 miles per gallon saving the driver from numerous gas station visits. Being a plug-in, the Ford Escape hybrid can be fully recharged in six to eight hours using an ordinary household outlet producing 120 volts. After driving 30 miles powered by the battery, the vehicle can continuously run as it will shift power source to fuel. This power shift is automatic without the driver knowing.

Ford's delivery of the 20 units PHEVs to Southern California Edison happened after five months when the two partners announced their partnership of delivering plug-in technologies for the general public.

"The electrification of vehicles has sparked significant interest in this country. The delivery of this Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid research vehicle today represents another step in our development and understanding of the technology and its place in the overall energy picture," said Sue Cischke, senior vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. "PHEVs are one element of our blueprint for sustainability that includes actions ranging from refinements in gasoline fueled engines and transmissions, to the development of hydrogen fuel cells."

"We are united in a common cause," said Lynda Ziegler, Southern California Edison's senior vice president, Customer Service. "We bring our expertise in energy production, delivery and management, and combine it with Ford's expertise in hybrid technology. Together, we are seeking solutions to address the needs of our shared customers and to ultimately help this nation achieve energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "This is not about simply connecting the car to the grid. It's about integrating vehicles and energy storage technologies into the energy system of the future".

To make the service even better, Ford Motor Co. and Southern California Edison are still discovering ways to sell the PHEVs at its most affordable cost to make fuel efficiency and environmental benefits at its cheapest. Two companies joined together by a common cause, just the work done by an .

"Although the energy infrastructure is in place, significant challenges remain for widespread adoption of PHEVs," said Cischke. "Cost, durability and reliability issues all need to be addressed before these vehicles can make a significant impact on the global issues of climate change and energy security."

The three automakers are presently on the lead in the plug-in hybrid development leaving behind other automakers. Battery type is the most common woe for automakers in this hybrid pursuit.

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